The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Peter Elwelu has today met representatives from the European Union at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs (MODVA) headquarters at Mbuya.
The EU delegation headed by the Senior Advisor to the EUs Foreign Service on emerging threats in the great lakes, Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean Mr. Charles Stuart, discussed a range of security issues especially African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) operations and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lt Gen Elwelu in his remarks said Uganda is and has always been ready to work with the DRC until all different negative forces are defeated. He noted that the Democratic Republic of Congo has granted the UPDF freedom and permission to operate in the country to bring the activities of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to an end while the regional forces will deal with the rest of the groups.
On M23 current advances to the Eastern city of Goma, Elwelu commented that Uganda is interested in dialogue and seeking peace in DRC. He reiterated that Uganda does not support M23 because that would be suicidal since it would threaten the good existing relations between DRC and Uganda that led to carrying out joint operations against ADF. In Uganda’s view he added, M23 should be back to its positions for a proper dialogue to take place. “If the EAC regional forces being deployed unanimously decides to push M23 back, it won’t even take 24 hours, this they know very well”, Gen Elwelu roared.
The Deputy CDF said that the region needs to be proactive and come together to promote peace and security in the DRC but this will be effective if the force worked with the international community. He advocated for a multi-pronged approach to see how best to work together for the good of the DRC. “There is need to bring all the concerned parties and participants on board and engage in a dialogue as a unified force to curb down the enemy”, he said.
Elwelu also underscored that this is not a one man’s battle but rather, East African states and the world at large European Union inclusive. “We need logistical support as a regional force to be effective because without it, it will not be easy to make an impact”, the Gen said.
The Chiefs of Defence of the regional forces will soon meet and there after the Summit will take place to discuss DRC operations and the state of security.
On Somalia, Lt Gen Elwelu insists that a draw down is still far out of reach if the gains of AMISOM turned ATMIS are to be realized. However, he applauded the Somali government and people for putting efforts to establish a credible army that will ensure peace and stability after ATMIS.
The EU representatives Mr. Charles Stuart applauded Uganda for the humanitarian work that the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has done in the DRC overtime. “Uganda is a shining example of humanitarian support and its refugee policy the best ever”, he mentioned. However, he added that this comes at a price as resources meant to do other development activities are being diverted by both government and donors.
Stuart said that the European Union seeks to achieve a political dialogue and stability in the region with a strategic transitional plan of a roadmap for takeover in Somalia, but added that Somalia should be forthcoming in pursuing what they need and should see the EU as partners who are trying to help. He reiterated Somalia’s need to create a roadmap for takeover in terms of logistics, infantry forces, medical, and signal capacity among others.
On DRC, Mr. Charles Stuart re-echoed EUs readiness to support the EAC regional forces in DRC in a broader and holistic manner including infrastructure and cross boarder economic development to benefit the Congolese people and her neighbours.
The EU representative was accompanied by the Deputy EU Ambassador to Uganda Mr. Guillaume Chartrain, Uganda’s EU head of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Mr. Titus Serugo among others. While Col Deo Akiiki the Deputy Defence Spokesperson and Col Christopher Kyanku from Office of the Chief of Defence Forces attended.